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Determine the Glove Right for You

Which Glove is Right for You?

Choosing the right glove is essential to protecting the wearer from the many risks they see and the ones they don’t. When selecting proper hand protection it is important to choose the right type of glove for each specific task, since no one glove protects against all hazards.

Nitrile, Natural Rubber Latex, Chloroprene – with so many choices how do you choose the right glove? To begin, ask yourself a few questions.

What are the substances to be handled or the potential exposure?

  • Biological (e.g. viruses, bacteria, blood borne pathogens, body fluids, etc.)
  • Chemical (acids, fats, phenols, alcohols, solvents, etc.)
  • Cytotoxic Chemotherapy Drugs

What is the type of exposure?

  • Touch (incidental contact)
  • Splash (incidental contact)
  • Immersion (intentional contact)

What is the expected duration of contact?

What is the type of task that will be performed?

Each selection may require a different glove since no one glove provides adequate protection for all substances or potential exposures. Once you have determined the task, what substances you will be exposed to and for how long, follow the easy steps below to choose the Right Glove for your needs.


Steps to Choosing the Right Glove

Follow these four easy steps to find the Right Glove for your task.

Step 1: Select the Glove Material

Glove material is a critical component of the selection process because not all glove materials are the same – each has its own unique performance attributes that should to be matched to the expected hazard. Common materials found in disposable gloves are Natural Rubber Latex, Nitrile and Chloroprene. The advantages and disadvantages for each material are discussed below.

Natural Rubber Latex

Good barrier protection
Good strength and elasticity
User comfort and fit
Good for ketones, alcohols


Not recommended for organic solvents, oils, grease and hydrocarbons
Hard to detect punctures and holes
Potential for latex allergies


Good barrier protection
Good mechanical strength and durability
Easy to detect punctures and holes
Good for many organic solvents, oils, fuels, some acids and bases


Not recommended for use with ketones or oxidizing acids
Less comfort and fit than natural rubber latex or chloroprene
Less tensile strength than latex or chloroprene


Good mechanical strength and durability 
Latex-like feel and fit; excellent comfort for extended wear
Greater elasticity and softness over nitrile for increased comfort
Good for many acids, bases, alcohols, ketones, fats, oils and solvents


Not recommended for halogenated and aromatic hydrocarbons


Step 2: Choose the Glove Thickness and Length

Typically the thicker the glove material the better the level of protection, however, as the glove thickness increases the level of dexterity decreases so it’s important to choose the correct thickness for the task and anticipated exposure. Three critical stress areas should be considered when choosing thickness – the finger, palm and cuff. Each area should be of adequate thickness to prevent chemical permeation, punctures or tears while providing the dexterity required for the task.

Standard Cuff: 9″ (240 mm) Indicated for tasks where no direct contact with hazard is anticipated

Extended Cuff: 11″ (290 mm) Indicated for tasks where potential for splashing or immersion is anticipated


Step 3 – Choose the Glove Finish

For tasks that require high degree of dexterity or use within a wet or oily environment, a textured glove provides for a better grip and greater control for tasks where fine or precision movements are required.


Step 4 – Select the Correct Size

In order to provide the best level of protection the glove has to fit correctly. Ambidextrous gloves fit loose and are suitable for tasks where a high level of dexterity or control is not required. Sized Hand Specific gloves provide a snug fit and are appropriate for tasks requiring greater dexterity, precision and control.


How do I know if I am being adequately protected?

The US, Europe, Canada and other countries recognize disposable gloves as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and regulated when exposure to blood and other potentially infectious body fluids, microorganisms and hazardous chemicals may be anticipated. The first step to your protection is to ensure the glove you choose complies with the respective regulatory requirements for the country of use. Ask your glove manufacturer or supplier to provide the appropriate certification of compliance for each glove product.

If gloves will be worn while working with chemicals or cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs, specific testing should be conducted by an independent, accredited laboratory using international testing standards and the test results available to you. The following are recognized standards for measuring the level of protection for gloves against specific chemicals, drugs and microorganisms that have been developed by ASTM International and BSI and are widely used to determine suitability for use.

Chemical: EN 374-3, ASTM F739, ASTM D6978

Biological: EN 455-3, ASTM F1671

Remember, glove selection is specific to the task and the gloves resistance to the chemical or drug tested. If using chemical mixtures or tasks where multiple hazards are present, you may need to wear gloves that provide the highest chemical resistance or wear a combination of different gloves to receive adequate protection.

Want more information on choosing the right glove?  learn-more

Choose the right chemicals for the glove material in our Chemical Resistance Guide.  learn-more